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Turkish TV Depicts IDF as Bloodthirsty

Portrayal in soap opera set during Gaza War comes as bilateral relationship struggles

Michael Weiss
October 15, 2009

At a time when bilateral relations between Israel and Turkey have reached a nadir, a Turkish television show called Ayrilik (Farewell), a nighttime soap set during last winter’s Israeli assault on Gaza, has provoked more tension by depicting the IDF as a “murderous, bloodthirsty army,” according to Ynet. In one scene, an Israeli soldier kicks the body of a Palestinian youth as the kid’s mother runs to embrace the corpse. In another, an Israeli corners a Palestinian girl on a Gaza street and shoots her coldly in the chest, waiting to watch the blood run out of her wound before exiting the scene. (Snippets of the show are available on YouTube here.)

According to the series’ website, Ayrilik “brings to life the bleeding wound of Palestine,” and needless to say, the Israeli government is incensed. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the Turkish ambassador in Israel to a meeting with high-ranking Israeli officials, and one of his deputies, Naor Gilon, told the envoy, “This kind of incitement is likely to lead to physical harm being done to Jews and Israelis who arrive in Turkey as tourists.” Lieberman went further, accusing the Turkish government—the show runs on a state-owned television network—of being complicit in an incitement to anti-Semitic violence.

Meanwhile, yesterday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the “conscience of our people” impelled him to exclude Israel from joint war game exercises. “I had to be the voice that expresses the existence of my people,” Erdogan said in an interview with the al-Arabiya new channel in Dubai, “and my people were rejecting Israel’s participation.”